Coming into the season, Tyler Boyd was largely an afterthought.
A.J. Green gets all of the attention when it comes to the Bengals passing game, and rightfully so. That was on full display Thursday when Green burned the Ravens three times for touchdowns in the first half.
But when the clock hit zero, it was Tyler Boyd who led the team in catches (6), yards (91) and tied Green for the team lead in targets (9). Boyd also caught a key touchdown in the second quarter to put the Bengals up 28-7, as Cincinnati needed every point to hold on for a 34-23 win.
“I just made a play. I came screaming across the middle, and Andy threw a perfect ball to me,” Boyd said of the catch. “All I had to do is make a guy miss.”
After two weeks, Boyd who ranks second on the team in targets (14), catches (9) and yards (116).
This, after Boyd only caught 22 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns in 2017. 130 of those yards came in the final two weeks of the season. He did this while playing the third-most snaps of any receiver on the Bengals roster last season.
It was disappointing after having a promising rookie campaign of 54 catches for 603 yards and one score. But when you think about it, Boyd has now caught 19 passes for 247 yards and two scores over his last four games.
That’s great production for a No. 2 wide receiver, especially in an offense that has Green, Tyler Eifert and a top-10 pick in John Ross.
Boy’d fast start has helped the Bengals start 2-0, and in both regards, it’s the best start Boyd has been part of in the NFL.
“This has been the best start since I’ve been here. I’m loving it, and I am sure everyone else is loving it,” said Boyd after the game. “As long as everybody — every player, every coach, everybody in this organization — does their part and does what they are supposed to do, the sky's the limit for us. I already believe our offense can’t be stopped. As long as we control the ball and do what we have to do, the sky is the limit.”
Boyd, the 55th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, finally seems to be back on the right track after falling out of favor and getting injured last year. He caught three passes in Week 1, including a crucial third-down conversion to help eat clock and get a field goal late against the Colts.
Then, Boyd burned the Ravens for 91 yards and a score in a 34-23 win over Baltimore to give Cincinnati what’s effectively a two-game lead in the division after Pittsburgh lost in Week 2.
Boyd’s contributions in his third season have been vital for the Bengals. With everyone giving attention to Ross’ development and Green’s ability to dominate a game, it’s being forgotten that Boyd is actually one of the more veteran receivers on the roster, as he has more catches than Ross, Josh Malone, Auden Tate and Cody Core.
Ross has been hit or miss through two games, Malone has no catches, and both Tate and Core have been inactive.
Boyd has been a fun story thus far, and he’s a big reason why the Bengals are 2-0. Let’s hope that continues for the rest of the season, which is shaping up to be a special one in Cincinnati. He’s also putting himself in line for a potential contract extension next offseason, as he’ll become eligible one for the first time.
Considering Ross is still under contract for three more years after 2018 if the Bengals pick up his fifth-year option, it will be a while until they have to seriously consider giving Ross an extension, so 2019 would be a good time to get Boyd extended before he’s slated to hit free agency in 2020.